MIDI Program-Change Weirdness
  • Just noticed a weird thing. If you use MIDI program-change messages to change programs on the Shruthi-1, the program name on the display changes, but the program number doesn't change. The sound itself does indeed seem to change, so functionally, it's OK, it's just the display is confused. Having said that, if you then try to change the program again on the box itself, the program is incremented/decremented from the displayed number. Can anyone else duplicate this odd behaviour?

    a|x
  • This is normal, and not odd at all from my point of view. I might “fix” that in a later firmware update.

  • Really? Seems odd the program number and name on the display goes 'out of sync' like that.
    Glad it does what it's supposed to, anyway.

    a|x
  • > Really?

    Short story: I really think the “patch number” system sucks – requiring a synth to be constantly set to a patch number is weird. If you think of it, it’s quite inconsistent… You load patch 40, then receive a SysEx dump of a totally different sound, but the patch number displayed is still 40, what does it mean? What should “program change 50” mean? “Replace my settings by those of patch 50” or “Scroll to patch 50”? I also hate synths that boot on the presets page, and having to scroll to bank D patch 127 to get something blank to create sounds on. I prefer the way computer programs work, with new / load / save commands and a file list dialog. This is what I wanted to do with the Shruthi – make it boot with “Document 1”, and a load/save dialog, and a list of files… But then supporting MIDI things like program changes messed things up. A clean-up of the load/save interface is planned for some time ahead – I’ll bug all of you do discuss what are your preferences on this matter later.

  • Some good points there. I do really like the way the Shruthi-1 boots up with a 'blank slate' patch. That surprised me when I first saw it, but I see the logic of it, and the fact that it encourages experimentation.

    The computer file-system analogy breaks down when you can only see one 'file' at a time though, and when you have a finite number of 'slots'. I guess I've been using MIDI synths longer than I've been using computers, so I feel more comfortable with the idea of a certain number of patch slots that can be filled with named patches, and program change selects a particular slot, with whatever sound currently occupies that slot in memory.

    I do think if you're going to have names and numbers, then the two have to stay linked. For example, with the current setup, if I select patch 4 on the Shruthi, then decide to flip through the presets using the program up/down buttons on my controller keyboard (not an unlikely scenario), I might reasonably expect the current patch to appear in the same numbered slot the next time I start up the Shruthi-1. This won't be the case, of course.

    You could decide not to support MIDI program changes at all. In that case though, it would be good to provide a really easy way to dump the current state of the synth, or just the current patch out to a sequencer for later recall. Years ago, when I had a multitimbral MIDI synth module, I used to just do a sysex dump of the entire setup of the box into a part at the beginning of each Cubase arrangement. That worked really well. Now I do most of my sequencing in Live, and that has no sysex support at all, unfortunately. Most other sequencers do support it though. Maybe an added item somewhere in the System menu to dump out the current patch as sysex would be handy. I know you can request a patch dump, but not all sequencers have to facility to send the correct sysex command.

    These are just suggestions, based as much on personal prejudice as anything else, of course, and shouldn't be taken as criticism. I'm really impressed with my Shruthi-1, and am becoming more so the more I play with it. It's a lovely little synth, not to mention a lovely object, and you've obviously put a lot of thought into all aspects of its sound and its operation.

    a|x
  • To me, SysEx dumps at the beginning of the track is the way to go – I managed to do it for pretty much any bit of equipment in my home studio in the late 90s, and I loved it! The old Shruti manual called this “SysExual reproduction”. Ahem. So obviously, it’s easy to do on the Shruthi, on the load/save page, S6+S3 does a SysEx dump of the patch. If the load/save page is showing sequences, S6+S3 dumps the sequence. If the load/save page is in “combo” mode, S6+S3 dumps the patch+the sequence.

  • Gotcha. Should have RTFM...
    Wish Live supported sysex. It's the program's one major omission, I think.

    a|x
  • I found this behavior odd as well fwiw. I see program number as absolute and the name merely as a descriptor, and get confused if I errant send a program change, find a sound i like, and forgot what patch Im in for saving purposes.

    But i can deal!
  • noted for v0.93

  • That's the problem with the current setup- there's potential for confusion, and possibly for accidentally saving-over patches, which would be frustrating.

    a|x